• Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst

  • A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads
A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by RailVet
This blurb was featured on page 4 of the August 2009 issue of Railpace:

Conrail Shared Assets has severed the former CNJ Southern Division main at milepost 65.8, a few hundred feet north of downtown Lakehurst, NJ. Track crews have erected an "end of track" barricade and removed a section of rail just north of where the Toms River Industrial Track diverges. Access to the US Navy Lakehurst air base has also been cut off, although the switch and the rails leading into the base still remain in place. Conrail still utilizes a runaround track just north of this point for twice-weekly Browns Yard (Sayreville, NJ)-based local WPSA-31.
  by SemperFidelis
As far as I know, the rails aboard the base were only reactivated to remove contaminated soil. I believe the project ran its course and the rails are now without purpose.
  by CJPat
The contaminated soil originated from the other side of Lakehurst where an air defense BOMARC missile (nuclear warhead) base was operated. In 1962, a fire broke out at one of the launchers and a missle caught fire. The fire was put out with no loss of life, but the nuclear warhead was breached and 11 grams of plutonium was lost (highly soluble in water). The base was evacuated and sealed over with concrete to contain the contamination. In 1999, a soil removal contract was issued. Soil was to be removed and transported by trains originating in downtown Lakehurst but operations were held up as Lakehurst and Manchester did not want trucks on the local highways and roads that might accidentally drop some possible contaminated soil. The solution was to re-extend the old siding back into Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Center so they could get the gondolas within the gates. A dirt road was built across the base for the trucks to move the dirt over to the rail spur.

The dirt was loaded into special sealed containers at the excavation site and brought to the tracks. The containers were transfered to the railcars and hauled out to, I believe, Utah, for disposal. Everything was wrapped up in the early part of this decade. After soil movement was complete, I believe the only rail traffic to Lakehurst was the 2 NJT Comet passenger cars that were used for Homeland Security drills. I don't believe the rails were ever used for anything else since.